With spring right around the corner, you may be starting some home projects soon. Your family’s safety is important so, don’t forget to add home fire safety to the project list. Do your part to keep your family out of harm’s way. Here is some important information about home fire safety devices:
Smoke alarms are your best defense, so make sure your home is adequately protected. There should be an alarm on every floor of your house, including the basement, and should be in every bedroom or near every sleeping area.
Like many devices, smoke alarms need regular maintenance. Perform these tasks on all smoke detectors:
- Test your smoke alarms monthly
- Replace the batteries yearly—and always use fresh batteries
- Replace the entire alarm every 10 years.
There are different types of smoke alarms. Some are battery-powered and others can be hardwired to your house’s electrical system. Hardwired smoke alarms often come with a battery backup for added protection. There are also interconnected smoke alarms where if one alarm sounds, the others sound too. See this resource from Nest to learn more.
Be aware of product recalls. There are resources on the internet, like this notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission about a recent Kidde recall.
Home fire extinguishers are essential, and OSHA provides details about various types and sizes. For the average home, these are the most common units:
- Class A – ordinary fires, including burning wood, cloth, paper, and plastic
- Class C – electrical fires, where a short circuit or overloaded electrical outlet sets fire to nearby combustible items
- Class K – kitchen fires, where grease or hot oils catch fire while cooking
Most extinguishers operate in the same way, following this process:
- Pull the pin that breaks the tamper seal.
- Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to spray the extinguishing agent.
- Wave the nozzle at the fire in a sweeping motion from side to side, covering the area of the fire.
Learn more from OHSA about fire extinguisher use so you can get more comfortable using the extinguishers in your home. If you doubt your ability to put out a fire, leave the property immediately and contact the fire department.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
A carbon monoxide alarm is a necessity. CO gas is often referred to as a “silent killer” because it is odorless and can be emitted from any fuel-burning device. Your stove, furnace and water heater are all devices that can produce CO.
CO alarms detects high levels of the gas and sound off like a smoke detector does. If an alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call professionals to check your house.
CO alarms should be on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas and bedrooms. For attached garages, place an alarm near the doorway. CO alarms should be at least five feet above the ground and should not be near any fuel-burning appliances. Be sure to check your manufacturer’s recommendations for placement details.
For routine maintenance on CO alarms, test monthly and replace batteries annually. Replace the entire unit every five to seven years.
Your family’s safety is your top priority. Check your home fire safety setup today and rest easy. Get more helpful advice—and ensure your home is protected from related losses by contacting your insurance agent.